03/03/2013 11:37AM

Sam Houston: Unstoppable U scores in Maxxam Gold Cup

Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Unstoppable U, with Chris Landeros up, wins the Maxxam Gold Cup by one length.

Unstoppable U overtook pacesetter Hurricane Ike in the stretch and went on to a one-length win in Saturday night’s $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park. Dreaming Blues rallied for second, with Hurricane Ike holding third in the richest of four stakes on the card.

In the $50,000 Texas Heritage, Departing remained undefeated in three starts in a win that could set him up for an appearance in the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby.

Unstoppable U ($15.80) stalked Hurricane Ike through fractions of 23.88 seconds for the opening quarter, 48.48 for the half-mile, and 1:13.68 for six furlongs. Unstoppable U took over through a mile in 1:38.45, then went on to cover the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50.96.

“I didn’t have to push him, but wanted to get on Hurricane Ike’s hip,” said Chris Landeros, who rode Unstoppable U for trainer Ken McPeek. “I knew he was the horse to beat.”

Dreaming Blues finished 2 3/4 lengths in front of favorite Hurricane Ike.

Unstoppable U invaded Sam Houston off an allowance win at Oaklawn. McPeek said he would look for a Grade 3 race for Unstoppable U’s next start. The horse races for the partnership of Magdalena Racing and Mojallali Stable.

Departing was the 3-5 favorite in the Texas Heritage off scores in a maiden special weight and an allowance at Fair Grounds. He stalked the pace Saturday night and went on to a 2 3/4-length win over Holiday Mischief. It was another two lengths back in third to Worldventurer. Departing ($3.20) covered the mile for 3-year-olds in 1:37.94.

“He did it in hand,” said Brian Hernandez Jr., who was aboard for the partnership of Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.

Al Stall Jr. trains Departing and said the horse could make his next start in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.

* Flashpoint ($10.40) tracked the pace for a three-quarter-length win over Hamiltonian in the $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint. It was another length back in third to Bind. Flashpoint covered six furlongs in 1:10.21. Glen Murphy rode the winner for Peachtree Stables and trainer Steve Asmussen.

* Artemus Kitten ($4.80) was a 1 1/2-length winner over Distorted Legacy in the $50,000 Jersey Lilly. She covered 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:44.12. Rosie Napravnik rode the winner for Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker.

* Sam Houston has received Texas Racing Commission approval to drop its final two Sunday cards, March 10 and March 17, and in their place add two Mondays, March 11 and March 18. Sam Houston officials said handle on Mondays has been outperforming handle on Sundays.